Andover 1st XI, sponsored by Nordlock, unfortunately couldn’t record back to wins after losing in a low scoring match at a wet Sparsholt.

Andover captain, Matt Hooper, lost the toss and unsurprisingly the Sparsholt skipper elected to bowl first.

The pitch looked green and soft so the Andover batters knew they were in for a tough time.

This tough time started immediately with Andover’s opening batsman, Nathan Birks, being bowled with the first ball of the game with a ball that was right on the money.

This wasn’t the start that Andover wanted and things got worse a few balls later with wicketkeeper Matt Knight being caught behind from a ball that bounced considerably and Andover had lost two wickets without scoring.

With the ball moving all over the place the Andover batsman were looking to survive.

Three runs later Andover lost their third wicket with Charlie Ayers being caught at cover trying to break the shackles.

While there was chaos at the other end, young star Sam Ashman was holding firm.

Him and Andrew Duckworth added another 15 to the total before Duckworth was bowled with another ball that moved considerably.

Max Souter joined Ashman and hit a quick boundary but the success was short lived as he was also bowled. Skipper Hooper joined youngster Ashman and both were trying to survive.

Ashman was next to fall for a patient 12 and last week’s hero Babu Veettil came to the crease.

Veettil, fresh from his career best 99 at St Cross but this week he only lasted three balls.

Hooper was holding firm and Richie Taylor came out to join his captain.

Both waited for the bad balls to pick up the odd single and rode their luck to survive.

This pair added 28 before Hooper was bowled for a top score in the match 17 and Andover were 59 for 8.

Taylor hit a few boundaries but he was then caught for 14.

Andover’s last pair Michael Adams and Rowan Duckworth added a few more runs before Adams was bowled and Andover ended their innings on 84.

There was still plenty of life in the pitch so Sparsholt knew they had to bat well, even to chase a small total.

Sparsholt progressed to 11 before the first wicket fell with Veettil trapping the opening batsman LBW.

This started a mini collapse with the next two wickets within three balls with Adams grabbing both.

Sparsholt then batted sensibly and withstood everything the Andover bowlers threw at them.

It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and that is exactly what happened.

Richie Taylor was starting to find his rhythm and Knight, stood up to the stumps, took a superb caught behind off the bottom edge.

Adams bowled his allotted eight overs for just 16 runs and he was replaced by spinner Ayers.

48-4 quickly became 49-5 with Ayers getting a deserved wicket catching a skier off his own bowling.

The Sparsholt captain Dave Banks, batted well in a partnership of 18 before Taylor trapped him LBW with the score on 67.

Taylor picked up the next wicket with the score on 80 but Sparsholt were on the home straight by now.

It was left to Stuart Taylor to knock off the winning runs in an enterprising innings and Sparsholt got home with three wickets to spare. Andover were again left wondering what might have been, having lost the toss on a pitch that was definitely easier to bat on as the day wore on.

Andover remain in bottom position of the Souther Premier League division one and aim to get their season back on track against Portsmouth on Saturday.

Andover return to London Road looking to the double over Portsmouth whom they beat earlier in the season. Andover will be desperate to get back to winning ways and start their move up the table.